* Posts by Muscleguy

1870 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Aug 2008

Microsoft pins hopes on AI once again – this time to patch up Swiss cheese security

Black Helicopters

Just waiting

Until the security AI gets pwned and locks out everyone at Microsoft as threat actors. Must stock up on popcorn.

BTW this is standard arms race stuff. All fine until the opposition go bigger again.

Bad software destroyed my doctor's memory


Its possible

My now ex wife works in a university. They got a student records package system put in. It took quite a bit of interface design and with a BA in Maths and a BSc in CompSci she pitched in. She even did some coding for them to ensure stuff worked properly. Why it pays to have a computer savvy person around for these things.

I used to be a biomedical researcher. I have built all manner of databases in my time. So when it came to my last science job where they were getting a desktop robot to aliquot samples on plates for analysis and sensibly wanted to barcode it I built them a relational FileMaker DB which read and printed barcode labels. The techs were taking in bags of blood and processing them down to DNA and RNA in tubes.

I used the robot myself as it was more accurate at gridding than anything else. So it gridded my real time RT-PCR plates for me. It had a nice macro type interface making routine building easy even for non specialists.

Lesson 1: Keep your mind on the ... why aren't the servers making any noise?


My Pa used to be a mechanical engineer for NZ Rail. They had a problem with the drivers putting their lunch tins or a brick on the dead man's switch they had to keep a foot on.


Yes, Saturday morning in the charity shop. I had to log our first big delivery of Xmas cards (I know, I know). The delivery note and the delivery were at strong variance. One type of card should have had 10 packs, it had 40. Some were completely absent, others short, some like the first had extra.

I was sitting with the sheet and my phone calculator adding the columns up, I got interrupted twice, so had to start again. So many 10's and 8's. I eventually got it down in time for the end of my shift. Boxes of cards some put in any old way. It was be methodical or don't bother. Why they gave the job to me.

Oh yes some cards were three in this box, two in this one, three in that one. I was running sub totals on the sheet.

Beyond the hype, AI promises leg up for scientific research


Re: "it needs to get its act together to compete with the deep pockets of Big Tech"

Except for the processing costs of course which will likely be beyond most science projects at market rates. That was the point of that comment in the article. Science will need big tech to come to the party.


Re: Shhh!

Rot that assumes we have almost perfect knowledge of biological systems to train the murine AI on.

BTW male mice sing to the females in the ultrasonic like furry canaries. They also scream in the ultrasonic when climaxing. Quite probably why those ultrasonic mouse scarers work.

Twitter rate-limits itself into a weekend of chaos


Agreed, I lurked without logging in having several people’s twitter pages open for some time before taking the plunge myself in reaction to one fo them getting egregiously banned by the gender borg lying. If you cannot see what it’s like why would you join it?


It is utterly crap

I am being punished in the new regime because I have a quick brain. I keep being put in the bot cage for liking tweets ‘too quickly’. No matter what stratagems I use to slow it down, to attempt to measure the time (highly variable) etc have come cropper of the capricious new rules. Anything seems to be the rule. I am currently in the bot cage for the fourth time today. Yesterday I spent most of the day in it from the first ‘infringement’.

The whole thing is both arbitrary and capricious. You are given no time limit for your punishment and no notification for when it has ended.

I have seen a suggestion this is actually because Musk has extended his ‘get paid only if you sue us’ attitude to office rent to paying for hosting, server farms etc. So Twitter itself is being rate limited in response.

Advertisers need to know there are fewer eyes on twitter as we are all serving time outs.

Forget these apps and AI, where's my flying car? Ah, here's one with an FAA license


Re: Are specially designed flying cars really necessary?

Probably while manoeuvring to land on the top deck of a parking building. Imagine it you are lining up a landing and someone comes up the ramp . . .

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111


Radio Pork

There’s a radio ham just at the tend of the road, Less than 50m away. Though if some of the trees in the park fall the right way they might wipe out at least one of his antennae. Or not. Still we can always restring the wire using the tree for the other end. A cycle driven dynamo for power or a convenient charged eCar and we’re good to go.

This sort of thing is real in NZ aka The Shaky Isles. In the Kaikoura quake coms to Kaikoura were non functional for several days. Lots of lateral and vertical uplift (up to 9m) will play havoc with the technology.

The NZ govt tells the population they may have to be self reliant for three days in a natural disaster situation. So you have an emergency bag packed with tinned & dried goods, bottled water, batteries, First Aid Kit etc. Daughter in Dunedin has one, local factory fire almost had them needing to bug out with it.

Cheapest, oldest, slowest part fixed very modern Mac


Re: Its always the simple things

The flat roof on our extension started leaking. This uncovered two Spanish practices here in Scotland. It appears to have been a self build. First the ceiling rose fused, this caused the kitchen lights below to go too. They were connected off the ceiling rose the wiring of it was arcane.

Second was our flat roof leak leaked into next door’s extension so no proper party wall. I did of course get a new roof sharpish.

When I got repiped for the heat pump install they found the floor was boarded in odds and ends not proper floorboards. All done on a shoestring The papers for the place say the council consented the extension post facto ie after all the crimes had been covered up.

Is there anything tape can’t fix? This techie used it to defeat the Sun


Re: Ah, architects

Ah yes, as a former habitué of dark microscope rooms I know what you mean. I became adept at relaxing my eyes to infinity voluntarily since there was no horizon to look at. At times I couldn’t keep the Electron Microscope room dark since I needed light to see my big photomontages of cross sections through a whole developing muscle so i could spot and label the ambiguous profiles. There were ALWAYS ambiguous profiles which had to be checked.

When the tech printed the photos in mirror image from that of the sample mental gymnastics had to be employed when navigating to the next profile. Sometimes half the montage was normal, half mirrored as a different film was used. Fun and games.

Though I became adept at seeing little clusters of myosin and act filaments in the characteristic hexagonal pattern. They look sharper than ribosomes.


Re: Not only mice

As an inhabitant of a fairly new build school (2018 but add in not much use in lockdown still pretty new). I feel your pain. I’m the science technician. They saw fit to put my prep lab and the science store in the middle of the building. Now windows. Now we are just below the roof so they could have installed a couple of skylights and saved themselves electrickery bills for lighting. Except they didn’t give me a light switch either. The teachers get theirs but I cannot have darkness to test things as every movement triggers the lights. Previous tech was a numpty (polite version of the Teachers’ views) so probably never thought to have input to the spaces he was going to inhabit. Ran away without notice. He was probably SAD.

Perseverance rover shows up Curiosity with discovery of Martian water park


Re: powerful stream in the area

Lots of stuff indicates Mars once had a much thicker atmosphere and likely much more water. It would have been warmer but not exactly tropical. What happened on Mars was the core cooled completely so stuck in place. Our magnetic field is strong because our core is liquid and rotates at a different rate. The lack of a strong magnetic field means the solar wind is able to knock gasses out of it into space ionising them. So over time Mars lost much of it’s atmosphere and water.

Modelling suggests that much of the material which would have built a bigger Earth 2 Mars is in the asteroid belt. Jupiter started to move in to become a Hot Jupiter we see so many of in other systems. That might well have knocked the rocky planets out of orbit. It is thought the formation of Saturn pulled Jupiter back but not before it perturbed a lot of material which would otherwise have been accreted onto Mars.

So the lack of live Martians is Jupiter’s fault. But we can thank Saturn for being here at all.


Re: Doctor?

Yup that was me in my first postdoc. I left 3 weeks after submitting my thesis. My examiners might, just have received their temporarily bound copies* by then. It was 2 months before I received their conclusions (no changes, no viva needed). I missed the May graduation so graduated in Absentia the following December.


Re: Doctor?

Postdocs are a specific contract. It means you do not have your own lab, you are working for someone heading that lab. Giving her her title would be good but telling those of us in the know she’s a postdoc is informative.

Yours a past postdoc.

AI to detect heart attacks tested in the land of the deep-fried Mars bar


Re: deep fried mars bars?

Battered and deep fried. Some places like my local will do black, red or white pudding too.


Only once

Only once have I seen a deep fried mars bar on offer in a Scottish chippy. That was in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh a real tourist trap. It would also have been 20 years ago. I do recall I had the haggis supper though. I have some haggis in my fridge here in Dundee. At least half of it will be haggis pakoras sometime soon. Those should be much better known than the chocolate bar thing. Haggis pakoras are the foods of the gods.

The return of the classic Flying Toasters screensaver


Ta muchly El Reg even though it reminds me of Eddie the toaster in Red Dwarf.

UNIX co-creator Ken Thompson is a… what user now?


Re: Not a bad record. I'll give him some slack for being in the Apple camp for too long.

It is expensive only if you buy it new. It is well made stuff so decent second hand kit is available. I’m typing this on a used MacBook Pro. I have recently bought a reconditioned iPhone from eBay for less than £200. It plays better with the laptop than my Android and when I finish transferring stuff from the Android I will log out of my Google account with a happy feeling. They have become Evil.

Huge lithium discovery could end world shortages ... Oh, wait, it's in Iran


Don’t be a Elven infantryman.

“Donya-e-Eqtesad, Ebrahim”

I am transported back to watching the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards and the monks therein who would chant that then smack themselves in the face with their tablets.

What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage


Re: Ouch

As a school science tech with the fixit bent I fix things for our companion primary. I have been presented with a succession of laptop power cables with the lead to the computer being frayed in the same place every time. Some to bare wires I have to individually wrap with insulation tape before the outer layer goes on.

Next time I’m over taking stuff back curiosity will get the better of me. Does EVERYONE trap the power cord under their machines? Or are the kids over toothsome?

Water-hunting NASA cubesat won't reach Moon after total thruster fail


Re: You miniaturized that pipe a bit much

The clangers got the soup dragon to fly up and breath soup down the thruster pipes.

Amazon convinces FCC it can avoid space junk chaos


Ah well, it was nice getting into orbit or putting things there wasn’t it? What halcyon days before the debris chain reaction cataclysm.

Icon since the aliens won’t be able to visit either.

Elon Musk's Neuralink probed over pathogen transport


Because with careful exceptions which do not include brains when we eat animals we cook or at least cure them which kills pathogens.

Heating and curing denature proteins, the ones we want to eat (tender, tasty) and on the way those of microorganisms as well.

Crypto craziness craps out – and about time too


Re: Blockchain next..

Because the Scottish banks never misbehaved they never lost the ability to issue their own scrip. We currently have three sets of notes plus BoE notes. The three Scots trading banks must hold securities to cover each £ of scrip they produce. Since the supply of notes is pretty much a constant this is quite easy.

In various high security facilities in Southern England those physical securities include such notes, promissory notes and actual precious substances.

After Independence we could part capitalise our Central Bank by letting them continue to issue notes but hold electronic deposits in the Central Bank’s accounts instead of physical securities. Ideally in foreign currencies.

Don't lock the datacenter door, said the boss. The builders need access and what could possibly go wrong?


Re: rebooting the system

I work as a school science tech. I was given a multimeter by Chemistry to get working. Someone had pressed the Hold button. That it was holding was displayed on the screen. I checked the battery and contacts while I was at it mind.

Had a light gate control box which wasn’t recognising the light gates. Nowt wrong with the gate or the cable. The input socket contacts were dodgy mind. Cleaned them with magic spray and problem solved.

The amount of crud you find in things in schools has to be seen to be believed.


Re: So the tires on his car never wear out as well.

Last year I bought a very low mileage 2014 car. I had a sidewall blowout leaving work. I drove very slowly to the tyre chain place. The mechanic said it was a 2014 tyre, on the rear so not worn as much as the front ones.

Orion snaps 'selfie' with the Moon as it prepares for distant retrograde orbit


Re: Does half an orbit

Exactly, I have made many photo montages especially physical ones, for science research. I recognise the effect.

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in prison


It seems to me she was a true believer in the technology. There are stories of her berating lab workers to work harder to make the technology work. The fraud was playing for time until the technology started to work which she seemed to believe it would if the scientists just worked harder.

I don’t see much of the principle of caveat emptor here. The investors need to emply some scientific advisors who know their onions before laving large amounts of moolah on startups like this. The basic idea is not impossible. I just think the sensitivity of the detection tech is not there yet.

If you have had a blood test lately you will see the size of the tubes filled. That is not just a finger drop of blood.

I recently had a lumbar puncture, a needle was inserted under the membranes to sample the CSF. I’m awaiting news of the results 6 weeks later. Some things still take time.

NASA's Artemis mission finally launches after faulty Ethernet switch delayed countdown


Re: Gwynne Shotwell now runs Starbase, the future of SpaceX. Give her some due credit.

Rain keeps the midgies down though. Also a decent breeze will also do it.

Twitter, Musk, and a week of bad decisions


Re: Well...

Apparently the problem with Mastodon is choosing the right server. Seems nobody can advise which you will be presented with. It also seems hellish hard to change servers. That limits who you can interact with.


Re: No free lunch for bots

Yup, just took a look on my Android phone. The features are all ‘Coming Soon’ with a message at the bottom that subscription is limited to iOS at the moment. iOS users report they can’t use it.

Look! Up in the sky! Proof of concept for satellites beaming energy to Earth!


Re: You also get the problem ....

There’s a serious proposal to put a lander on Venus which is clockwork. Our electronics won’t survive so you ultra harden a small electric beamer for data but everything else is mechanical.

OpenPrinting keeps old printers working – even on Windows


CUPS has been very useful to me keeping an old Laserwriter going. This sort of tech is very good not least because it keeps still working old tech from landfill.

InSight Mars lander has only 'few weeks' of power left


Re: Different ending?

Western Britain. I’m in Dundee, the sunniest city in Scotland. We’re in a rain shadow, the hills make rain clouds from the West slide north of us.


Re: Use inclined solar panels

You just reinvented the window wiper, congratulations.

Crowds not allowed to leave Shanghai Disneyland without a negative COVID test


Re: Trying to escape IKEA

I’m in Dundee and the nearest one is South of Edinburgh requiring engagement with the dreaded Bypass. But you can order some stuff online now. So let joy be unconfined. Especially since I require no more furniture. Some of it is Ikea but with careful use it is still fine. Also bought long enough ago that it was actually solid stuff.

Microsoft mulls cheap PCs supported by ads, subs


So the poor get served ads for things they can’t afford while the rich get to opt out. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Firefox points the way to eradicating one of the rudest words online: PDF


Re: I don't mind PDFs

Same with science journal papers which were the first big use of pdfs. Just like a section from the journal without having to pay for a colour photocopier. We basically almost completely stopped going to the library.

Used to be a weekly pilgrimage to go through the dead tree journals and badly photocopy the papers you wanted. With pdfs that was no more. A JANET connection meant data was not an issue as well. It was sweet.


Re: I don't mind PDFs

Exactly, if everything was web only then that instruction manual could disappear on you quite easily. But If I download and backup the pdf I always have it provided software can read it.

UK hospitals fall back on pen and paper after Oracle Cerner outage


The blood type on blood donation bags is still written in marker pen by hand. Because in a disaster situation the scanners might run out of battery and not be able to be recharged. Why despite modern auto blood pressure machines med students are still taught the old way with a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer. I have taught med students how to do that. Including the cheat for a noisy environment, like a large teaching lab.

Datacenter migration plan missed one vital detail: The leaky roof


During my PhD in the early ‘90s I had three boxes of 3.5” 1.5MB floppies with my thesis and data on. One was the working one, one lived in my bag and was backed up from working end of every day. The third lived at home. it came in for updating weekly.

This was in NZ AKA the Shaky Isles. I had no access to the server for file storage, just for email. Files were Mac anyway, I wrote in WriteNow smaller and faster than Word. It worked with Pro Cite my references database. I hate Endnote which replaced it. Pro Cite was a proper database End Note is nothing of the sort.

Tesla Megapack battery ignites at substation after less than 6 months


Re: Look to Dinorwig

Which is why here in Yurp we are putting most of the new wind turbines out at sea, sometimes way out at sea where winds are more reliable. Here in Scotland we have quite a few pumped storage installations now. Some built in from the start such as the Hole in the Mountain at the north end of Loch Awe, some retrofitted.

Whether a hydro station is pumped storage or not does not affect it’s spin up time.

Can reflections in eyeglasses actually leak info from Zoom calls? Here's a study into it


Re: IgNobel 2023

I have been told repeatedly I look better in glasses. They make me look educated which I am.

Actual real-life hoverbike makes US debut at Detroit Auto Show


Re: Well, I’m impressed… not

I am 90kg in my shoes. So 10kg max for my work bag it’s a go for me.


Re: Well, I’m impressed… not

Yes, just realised I don’t need no cycle path. The burn leads right to my work. I get to the burn I get to work. Might have to duck under or lift over the road bridges but hey a minor detail.


Maybe you get four showers of water up from each rotor? Why cycles have mudguards.


I can get to work very largely on cycle paths. Wtih some brief road crossings. Polis here in Scotland turn a blind eye to electric scooters despite them being illegal. I need to win the lottery so I can ride one to work. Which is a secondary school. The street cred I could earn . . .

Testing of Starlink internet under way in Antarctica


Re: Deep down, everyone knows what will happen...

Or Antarctica only a leopard seal rising to catch a penguin.